If you’ve left your house in the past three days (or even if you just went to the office), you’ve probably seen a twenty-something staring down at their phone intently. wandering around flinging Pokeballs.
Released to the Apple Store and Google Play on July 6, Pokemon Go already has 27,328 customer ratings, over 50,000 downloads in it’s first 24 hours, trending topics on Facebook and Twitter, loyal fans and dedicated haters. The mobile app presented Nintendo, Pokemon and Niantic layers real life locations with poke spots, utilizes a phone’s camera feature to make Pokemon appear in the user’s location and surroundings and generally causes addictive behavior.
For those wondering, I’ve been able to catch 24 different species and more than 50 Pokemon in my downtime the last few days despite the dreaded “Servers Down” screen that many have been experiencing.
Just like when us 20-somethings were in the 4th Grade and our teacher banned Pokemon Cards from the playground because we couldn’t look away, Pokemon Go has taken over the playground of adulthood. Much more than it’s creators anticipated as the game crashes every 20 minutes or so due to overloaded servers. Users have to sign in over and over, which for me is particularly tedious because i’m the fool with two step authentication on most of my accounts.
This issue with the game though, did not put it in the category of DIGG malfunctions, instead, the opposite. When users log in to the same successfully, the world around them fades, focusing soley on the game and feeling lucky that they are in.
Here’s a look at the Genius (And Risk) of Pokemon Go:
- A GENERATION NOT FORGOTTEN: Gloom, Pidgey, Dratini. These words not only illicit childhood memories, but in my circle of friends spark back intense knowledge of species, battles, HP & more. I can’t remember a game this ubiquitous since maybe “Words With Friends.” Since it’s launch three days ago, it’s been quickly adopted and heavily used. I was at a concert in Miami last night, talking to strangers about the Polliwags they were able to grab by the concession stand. Everyone at the show who wasn’t snapping photos of the Miami Skyline had the familial green and blue Pokemon landscape on their screen. Dozens of folks set up lures (which attract virtual Pokemon) and actually, I’ve talked to more random strangers with a happy instant connection than ever before. High Fives all around when we spotted that Slow Poke.
- GET UP AND MOVE: To hatch an egg into a Pokemon you have to have the game open on your phone and walk (or bike) between 2 and 10 kilometers. For everyone who says video games promote laziness, this one has made me walk in circles around my apartment complex in search of nighttime Clefairies. The game literally forces you to walk to catch, so it’s a decent option for a lunchtime break or morning stroll companion. Overheard at the concert between complete strangers: “Yo bro, a Snorlax has been spotted in the Arts District, do you guys want to go?”
- REAL LIFE LOCATIONS: This one is both a genius idea and a risk. The Christopher Columbus Statue at Bayside Park is a Pokestop. You can go there, spin an image when you are close enough and collect eggs, Pokeballs and more. Reminiscent of Geocashing, it’s really fun to go out and explore live locations, run into other people playing the game there. It’s layered with what appears to be Google Maps Data and cellphone usage, so popular areas are crawling with species encourage exploration, travel and companionship to catch the rarest species.
- REAL LIFE LOCATIONS: Yeah, this one’s both. There’s a ton of risk in making a local Church or landmark a pokespot. Namely, the location didn’t agree to that. Some places may love the attention and traffic and others not so much. Secondly, there’s inherent risk in people wandering around places they don’t know, staring at their phone sneaking Snorlax.
- PERSONAL BOUNDARIES: The game warns you to “be alert” of your surroundings at all times, BUT I’ve seen people walk across the street hunting pokemon. It’s not a stretch to say people are likely driving, not paying attention to the world, walking into lakes looking for Horseas and worse while fixated on this game. Of course, it’s up to the user to be smart, but it certainly encourages a world that’s purely digital and non responsive to reality.
Now bring on that Clefairy.